Unarmed former gangster to sue police after being shot in siege
A MAN who was shot by armed police during a siege in Birmingham is planning to sue the force.
Sharif Cousins, 41, was the first person to be shot by a West Midlands Police officer for 17 years.
The ex-gang member claimed he was unarmed at the time, and no charges were brought against him in relation to the incident.
Now Mr Cousins, who was in an induced coma for three weeks after the shooting, has said he plans to take legal action against the force.
He had previously spent 15 years in prison, including an eight-year term for possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life for pointing a gun at a police officer.
He is now a youth worker and maintains he has stayed out of trouble since coming out of prison in 2011.
The shooting happened in Hereford Close, Rubery, last July when Mr Cousins was in a house with another man watching music videos.
He said he left to get for his girlfriend and, cigarettes when he returned, was confronted by armed police in an alleyway.
He told BBC News: “At that point police have just run out in the alleyway, out of nowhere – and said ‘Stop, put your hands up’, or something like that. So we’ve put our hands up and then I just heard a bang.
“I’ve looked down at my chest, obviously, and my chest is smoking and stuff.
“I’ve seen the flash of the gun but I didn’t actually believe it happened.
“I’m looking at the policeman saying, ‘You actually just shot me?’”
Mr Cousins said he still suffered pain, could not lift his arm fully, was on four different medications and suffered from panic attacks.
The man he was with at the time was arrested for previous unrelated offences on the night of the shooting and later sentenced to 16 years in prison for drugs and firearms offences.
“My life has been ruined because of this episode... I’m taking four medications. I will probably never be the same person again,” Mr Cousins said.
West Midlands Police temporary assistant chief constable Kenny Bell said: “We are awaiting the outcome of the Independent Office of Police Conduct’s investigation into last year’s firearm discharge. As a result, we are unable to comment on elements of their investigation.”
> Sharif Cousins who was shot